Conservatorships and Guardianships


Waterson Huth & Associates

California provides protective proceedings for individuals who require assistance in making important decisions. These proceedings are called Conservatorships for adults and Guardianships for minors. California allows for a specialized proceeding called Limited Conservatorship for the protection of individuals with intellectual disabilities.


Being appointed guardian of a child allows a family member or a family friend to be involved in medical, educational, and other decision-making issues when the child’s legal/biological parents are unable to do so. A Guardianship is established by court order and is supervised by the probate judge until the child turns 18 years of age.  

Our attorneys at Waterson Huth & Associates are experienced in assisting family members with guardianship matters.  


There are three types of conservatorships in California:

  • General Conservatorship
  • Limited Conservatorship
  • Lanterman-Petris-Short Conservatorship

All of these conservatorships can be of the Person and/or Estate.

General Conservatorship

A General Conservatorship may be necessary for individuals 18 years of age or older who are no longer able to manage his or her own financial and/or personal affairs. The probate court may appoint an individual (the conservator) to act on behalf of the incapacitated person (the conservatee). The establishment of a conservatorship restricts the conservatee’s powers over financial and/or personal decisions. The general conservatorship will be supervised by the probate court until it is terminated and may last for the remaining lifetime of the conservatee. 

Limited Conservatorship

Limited Conservatorships were created specifically by the State of California to allow for the protection of individuals with developmental disabilities while preserving their rights as much as possible. The probate court may appoint a suitable individual (a limited conservator) to oversee the welfare of an adult with developmental disabilities (the limited conservatee). The court requires a showing of proof that the individual is unable to make decisions alone. Without a conservatorship, the parents of a dependent adult cannot legally make medical, educational, or other decisions on their behalf. In this type of conservatorship, the conservator is granted any of seven enumerated powers, including:

  • The power to fix residence
  • The power of consent or withhold medical consent
  • The power to contract
  • The power to consent or withhold consent to marriage or domestic partnership
  • The power to access confidential papers and documents
  • The power to make educational decisions
  • The power to control social and sexual relationships

The powers granted to the conservator by the court depends on the strengths and abilities of the conservatee.

Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship

Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorships are available for persons who are incapable of caring for themselves due to the presence of a mental illness. Initial LPS conservatorship petitions can only be filed by the Public Guardian’s Office and the appointment must be renewed annually. While a private attorney is unable to file the initial conservatorship petitions, the attorneys at Waterson Huth & Associates are able to represent the existing conservator with the renewal process. If the court appoints a conservator of the person and estate, we can assist with the estate administration.

For Consultation

Waterson Huth & Associates is here to help. If you, a family member, or loved one needs an attorney to help navigate issues in the areas of Transition Planning, Conservatorship, Guardianship, Special Needs Trust, Estate Planning or Special Education, call us to schedule an appointment or complete the form below.